COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is an umbrella term used to describe a group of progressive lung diseases. The two most common diseases included are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Refractory (non-reversible) or chronic asthma, some forms of bronchiectasis and several other diseases which are characterized by progressive obstruction of the airflow into and out of the lungs and increased shortness of breath are often included under this term. COPD is an insidious disease which is often first diagnosed after some of the lung capacity is already lost.
Though almost always preventable, and almost always treatable, COPD is usually not fully reversible. It is possible to have early stages of COPD without knowing itEmphysema